Sunday April 20, 2014

Addict pulled handgun trigger, court told

Details of attempted murder charge outlined at bail hearing

The Crown alleges a 36-year-old heroin addict with a stash of prohibited weapons pulled the trigger on a handgun — without it firing — after pointing it at a woman in a failed robbery.

John Attrell faces charges of attempted murder and weapons offences stemming from an incident Dec. 15.

None of the allegations, aired during a bail hearing Thursday, have been proven in court.

The Crown sought his continued detention. He's been in jail since his arrest Dec. 15.

Crown lawyer Will Burrows said RCMP received a 911 call about noon on Dec. 15. A female caller told the dispatcher she was being threatened with a gun.

In interviews with police, the woman, an associate of Attrell's, said he came looking for money to buy heroin and was aggressive and erratic.

"He produced a handgun, put a clip in it and pointed it," Burrows said of the allegation.

One of two women in the home said nothing happened when Attrell pulled the trigger.

Attrell was arrested by RCMP in a pullout on Singh Street, near his home. A police dog found a .22 handgun in the grass, along with four clips of ammunition nearby.

The Browning .22 had a "red-dot" laser pointer, consistent with a description given by one of the women, Burrows said.

Police then raided his Ord Road home, where Attrell lived with his common-law wife and two young children. Inside they found "dangerous and significant firepower," Burrows alleged.

That included a semi-automatic .308, SKS 7.62 high-powered rifle with 20 bullets in the magazine, XD 45 handgun and .223 Taber rifle.

Magazines for some of the guns were found that held 30 rounds — far above the legal maximum in Canada.

Defence lawyer Sheldon Tate successfully argued for Attrell's release to a treatment facility in Abbotsford, where he will be under house arrest.

Tate said his client injured his back in an accident 12 years ago and supports his family on the subsequent $2,000 a month pension. He became addicted to painkillers and heroin as a result of his injury.

"Mr. Attrell needs substantial recovery," Tate argued.

Attrell has not yet entered a plea to the charges.

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